In speeches I’ve given over the past few years, I’ve characterized the current fiscal crisis in this country to symptoms of an underlying syndrome. Just as the sniffles or a runny nose is the result of the cold or flu, so are astronomical deficits and crushing debt indicative of our cultural condition. We were once a nation that believed in the concepts of hard work, delayed gratification and living within our means. In our time, however, those values have been “repealed and replaced” with a set of short-sighted thought processes more conducive to economic calamity than long term happiness. In short, as America’s values have waivered, her economy has paid the price.
Jesus taught us that our treasure follows our heart (Matthew 6:21). Believing this is the case, the once-good heart of America has become corrupted by a culture of narrow self-interest. This sort of selfishness has opened the door for big government, at the Federal and state levels, to pit neighbor against neighbor in a covetous class-war that threatens to rip the fabric of these once United States of America. Our fiscal policy has been directed more toward confiscatory taxation, which takes from the makers to give to the takers, than to building a united nation of equal opportunity. These points serve to illustrate a larger truth, which is that our financial collapse is but a symptom of our cultural collapse. If conservatives are going to rebuild our economy, we must begin by rebuilding our families and communities. As Mark Steyn stated in emAfter America/em, “A society can cope with corroded infrastructure and a devalued currency more easily than with corroded liberty and a devalued citizenry.” We must rebuild the culture to recover the economy.
The problem with the progressive-liberal left in this country is that they desire an exceptional standard of living, but not at the “cost” of exceptional conduct. In other words, the Left desires to maintain America’s standard of living and economic affluence, but they treat the concepts of work and wisdom, and other virtues that made America, as outdated and overrated. If the Left believes that, as a Nation, we can indulge self-centeredness as the hallmark of our cultural experience, while maintaining our lifestyle, liberty and economy, they want what has never been and what never can be. As Mark Steyn went on to say “The bubble is twenty-first century America itself, from the financial sector to a wretched educational system culminating in languorous, undemanding “college” courses…When you weigh America in the balances, it’s not just wanting, it’s wanting a sugar daddy.”
Folks, if we are to rebuild America, it must begin with us. We must dare to achieve great things, not because they are easy, but because they are worth it. As the Scripture tells us “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). Wisdom begins with the “fear of the LORD,” because He is the Author of our lives, the life of our Country and the existence of the Earth. The only way to freedom, prosperity and promise is to learn His Way, which will give us a hope and a future. When we “get wisdom,” our finances, our families, our economy, our politics and our country will reflect its virtue.